A VA Psychiatrist Reflects on Suicide Among Combat Vets

Photo courtesy of Paving the Road Back.

After watching the short film, “Good Night, Ryan”, Rod Deaton writes: … I respond to Ryan’s story: as a man, a psychiatrist, a husband, father, son.  Who happens to work for the VA.

Deaton, a VA psychiatrist, created the blog: Paving the Road Back – dedicated to serving those who have served in combat. On Twitter, he writes that he works to help other professionals better serve the emotional and spiritual needs of combat veterans.

From his recent blog post: In Memory of Ryan

I do not in any way speak for the VA, DoD, or any other branch of the government.  My thoughts–my reactions–are of a man who happens to be trained as a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist, who happens to be a husband and a father and a son, who happens to have the privilege  of working with men and women who have been so willing to give of themselves–and who happens to work for the VA.

Deaton writes about his thoughts – as a psychiatrist – his observations and his thinking during sessions with combat veterans.  But, after watching the Ryan film and reading the op-ed, “A Veteran’s Death, the Nation’s Shame,” Deaton was at a loss:

… I can only be silenced before Ryan’s mother Cherry DeBrow, his brother Michael Yurchison, his best friend Steve Schaeffer.  Though in a sense I can feel their hearts via their voices, their faces, in the deepest sense I haven’t a clue.  It’s precisely because I have my son that I cannot imagine life without him, my life without my daughters.  I don’t “go there” because I can’t go there.  One only goes there when, like Ms. DeBrow, one is there.

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